Septenary (116 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


Septenary: a line of seven beats, usually more or less iambic in movement. Often divided by rhyme or on the page into two lines, one of four beats and one of three (followed by a silent beat – see isoictic), it is the common metre of ballads and hymns:

The King | sat in | Dumferm|line Town
Drinking | the blood-|red wine:
“O where | will I find | a skee|ly ski|pper
To sail | this new ship | o’mine?”

Anon, “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”

There is | a green | hill far | away,
Without | a ci|t…

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Groves, Peter Lewis. "Septenary". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2007
[, accessed 22 May 2018.]

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